Here’s What Helped Me Control My High Blood Pressure
On three counts, I qualified in the high risk category of blood pressure or hypertension, writes a reader.
I just wanted to buy an insurance policy but I didn’t bargain for what I got in return. Something that changed how I lived from there on.
In December 2016 while buying a new health insurance policy I had to undergo the mandatory health checkup. My insurer wanted to be absolutely sure that I didn’t have any major ailment, in this case a heart or kidney disease and diabetes.
Thankfully all my health markers were good apart from one.
My blood pressure was in the higher range of 180 and my bad cholesterol was also elevated. It showed an alarming 310mg/dL.
Anything beyond 140 is considered dangerous in adults.
On seeing my reports my family physician had few queries:
- How physically active I was or I led a sedentary life?
- Did I smoke?
- Did I drink alcohol and how frequently?
- How was my diet?
And these were my answers:
- Not very much. I hardly exercised because I was not overweight.
- Nope, I had quit smoking almost six years back.
- I really enjoyed my drinks and every evening I had my 90 to 120 ml of whiskey.
- I am a healthy eater, being a Bengali I ate lots of fish. But my salt consumption was on the higher side.
On three counts I qualified in the high risk category of blood pressure or hypertension. I didn’t exercise, I drank almost daily and my salt intake was high. I was advised at least 30 minutes of brisk walk daily and to cut down on my salt and alcohol intake.
So What Actually Helped Me?
I’ll be very honest here, I am still finding it really tough to remove the ‘namak’ from my ‘maach bhaat’ and the craving for that large peg of Jameson is just too strong in the evening. So yes! Post-work I still drink a peg or two.
But where I have absolutely nailed it is the exercise and physical activity part.
Right after the diagnosis I read up on the internet about decent running shoes and sportswear. Ordered them online. I also got a fitness band, a Fitbit Charge 2 to be specific.
Somewhere it was written that good sportswear does inspire you to get out of the bed and hit the gym.
The fitness band suggest that one should walk 10,000 steps every day. It may sound easy but that works out to be almost 8kms every day. I started easy, walking about 3kms daily.
Then a friend who is a marathon runner gave me few tips on running. How one could increase their strength, stamina and endurance slowly.
So I started running, it was tough initially but within six months I was running almost 5 to 6 kms every alternate day and my timing had come down to about 25 minutes.
I am not a very heavy set person. At that point of time I weighed about 65kgs but I had ugly belly fat. My midriff was out of shape and it was a clear indicator that I could be susceptible to diabetes and heart diseases, so I needed to address that.
I have been at it for more than a year and half now.
Alternating between running and weight training in the gym. My weight has dropped to 58kgs and I am feeling much stronger as I have lost fat but gained muscle mass.
Back in December 2016 my doctor had prescribed few pills to keep my blood pressure and cholesterol in control.
Medications and exercise complement each other. Just as I have to continue exercising, I have to take these pills for the rest of my life. I guess I have no choice and what the heck!
I am enjoying every bit of this. I feel fitter, stronger, calmer even the stress levels have gone down. And the best part I am even getting compliments now on how I look.
Glaring Stats from India
The Global Burden of Disease data collated by the Washington-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has revealed some scary data about India.
High blood pressure affects nearly three in every ten Indians and it killed 1.6 million Indians in 2016.
For many this may be just another startling data but for me it’s a reminder of a personal tragedy.
I lost my father in 2013 to a fatal stroke. His blood pressure was never diagnosed because he never knew he was suffering from high blood pressure. So genetically, I am predisposed to blood pressure, but I am smarter than my father.
I won’t let blood pressure kill me.
(Tridip K Mandal is a journalist with The Quint. This blog is his personal experience on how he’s coping with hypertension / blood pressure. FIT recommends you to consult your doctor before practicing anything that has been mentioned in this blog.)
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